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Hiring our heroes and their spouses

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Hiring Our Heroes, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in conjunction with Military Spouse Employment Partnership, organized and held a job fair in the Club ballroom March 12. With a registration of nearly 300 people, the Hiring Our Heroes job fair was an event for military spouses and service members to mingle, exchange information and see what opportunities are available in the private sector, as well as learn about what employers are searching for in job candidates. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Golembesky)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Hiring Our Heroes, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in conjunction with Military Spouse Employment Partnership, organized and held a job fair in the Club ballroom March 12. With a registration of nearly 300 people, the Hiring Our Heroes job fair was an event for military spouses and service members to mingle, exchange information and see what opportunities are available in the private sector, as well as learn about what employers are searching for in job candidates. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Golembesky)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Businesses from across the country gathered to provide a unique opportunity to military spouses seeking employment at the Hiring Our Heroes job fair held at Peterson March 12 in The Club ballroom.

Hiring Our Heroes, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in conjunction with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, organized and held the job fair. The Hiring Our Heroes job fair allowed military spouses and service members the chance to mingle, exchange information and see what opportunities are available in the private sector.

"While military spouses are well educated and highly qualified for a range of careers, they face a 26 percent unemployment rate and a 25 percent wage gap compared to their civilian counterparts," said Rhonda Sargent, Peterson Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant.

Although the event was open to anyone who registered, the primary focus was on helping military spouses who face unique challenges when searching for employment during their time in the military community.

"Not only is this a great opportunity to get information and talk face-to-face with employers, but it also lets you know exactly what companies in the private sector are looking for in job candidates," said Staff Sgt. Joshua Amos, 10th Communications Squadron technician at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The first portion of the job fair began the night prior with the Military Spouse Employment Partnership and United Services Automobile Association hosting a networking social to answer questions and provide advice to job seekers attending the event the following day.

"We were able to talk to them a lot about tips, tactics and techniques that they can employ through their resume and their overall job search, how to get in the door and be more successful in their job search," said Marshall Grain, USAA senior talent programs adviser.

The second portion was the job fair itself and held in the ballroom area of the Peterson Club. With more than 30 booths, representing businesses from many industries, job seekers were able to use their skills and resumes to engage prospective employers.

"We understand what is involved -- the challenges -- it can be a tough road for many but there is a lot they can do to make themselves successful in their job search," said Grain.

Having an opportunity for job-seeking spouses to talk directly with employers at a facility on base made for a great turnout, with nearly 300 registered attendees.

"(Spouses) live on and around the installations, and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to attend and benefit from the event. For military spouses, seeking employment is different. The biggest issue is they tend to move every two to three years, and maintaining a career is very difficult," said Sarah Worley, Hiring Our Heroes military spouse program manager. "Many companies are starting to realize that they are a viable employee pool because they are hard working, resilient and many are well educated and have degrees."

For more information about Hiring Our Heroes, visit http://www.hiringourheroes.org/.

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